Ritschard Dam work pushed to 2018

A graphic of the issues at Ritschard Dam from the Colorado River District

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Lance Maggart):

Officials from the Colorado River District, which owns and operates Wolford Mountain Reservoir, announced in spring 2016 that they were scrapping plans to conduct a multimillion dollar rehabilitation project on Ritschard Dam, which when full holds back Wolford’s 66,000 acre-feet of water. At that time the district announced it would initiate an earthwork project to restore the dam to its original height after several years of settling dropped the dam’s crest by roughly one-and-a-half feet.

District officials, however, announced plans this week to postpone the dam heightening project until 2018.

Jim Pokrandt, spokesperson for the river district, explained the decision was based on several factors including that the project is still working through the permitting process and officials were concerned about a late start for construction and the potential for bumping up against colder weather.

Pokrandt further noted that 2017 has been a very busy construction season and bids on the project would have been high.

“This is still a good project and it needs to be done. It will just take another year,” Pokrandt said.

The River District had previously planned to draw down Wolford to accommodate the earthwork but the recent announcement means accelerated drawdowns will not occur.

According to Ray Tenney, Deputy Chief Engineer for the District, for the remainder of summer and fall, the usual and expected water deliveries for contract and endangered fish habitat purposes will occur, resulting in a typical seasonal drawdown of about 10 feet in water elevation in coming months.

Wolford’s recreational amenities, including camping, boating, fishing, and day-use, will still remain open to he public.

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